October 19, 2012

$14m bill write-off

Nasik Swami
Thursday, October 18, 2012

ABOUT 100,000 Fijians are expected to benefit from the government's decision to waive water bill arrears amounting to $14million.

Two of the thousands of families who have contemplated on their livelihoods for a long time will breathe a sigh of relief after struggling to clear their debts.

Livai Bulivou of Wailea Settlement in Vatuwaqa tried to fight back his tears while sitting at his home yesterday after becoming the first household in the country to benefit from the government's decision.

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama visited his home with senior government officials and waived arrears amounting to about $900 of unpaid water bills.

Mr Bulivou, 74, said he had been staying in the settlement for the past 25 years and was not able to clear his water bills because a lot of people were using water from his home and left without paying him any money.

"This action by the government shows how much they care about the people of Fiji and I am very happy with this decision," he said.

Another beneficiary, Bhoob Chand of Nawanawa Rd in Nadera whose family consists of eight members was thankful to government after their arrears of about $1000 was waived.

The government also waived about $24,000 of unpaid bills for Ballantine Memorial School at Delainavesi.

Commodore Bainimarama said his government would write-off about $13 million dollars in outstanding bills.

"Nothing is more important to my government than helping ordinary Fijians provide for themselves and their families," he said.

He said about 25,000 households, businesses, schools and religious institutions had unpaid bills.

"My government is responding to an issue that we can all relate to. Many of these customers simply could not afford to pay their bills because they were so high. The arrears had built up over many years and settling them was beyond their means," he said.

Commodore Bainimarama said they were prepared to forgo this revenue to help Fijians make ends meet.

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